UFC 145 is in the books. The UFC’s first Pay-Per View event since February featured the grudge match that fans have waited over a year to see: Jon Jones defending his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Rashad Evans. The undercard featured some exciting finishes, including some upsets. Where do the main event fighters and the main card winners go from here? Let’s take a look.
Is there any more doubt that Jon Jones is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world? Rashad Evans was supposed to be his biggest challenge, and while he did take the champ the distance, Jones was never in any serious trouble. The fight seemed more like an exhibition of Jones’ crafty striking skills. And this wasn’t even the best Jon Jones. He looked much better in his fights against Shogun and Rampage. But, Jones needed to beat Evans to get past this chapter in his career. Jones has talked about possibly moving up to heavyweight sooner than later. But, he has one more hurdle at Light-Heavyweight.
Next Match: Jones faces Dan Henderson in early fall
Before this fight, Jon Jones said that Evans losing this fight would be the worst thing for his career because he would have nothing left to fight for. This loss hurts, but it was only the second loss of Evans’ career. The Light Heavyweight division, after Henderson, is wide open with a lot of new blood like Alexander Gustaffson, Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. Evans just beat Davis. Last week in my column after UFC on Fuel TV 2, I said that Gustaffson should fight Lyoto Machida. However, after Evans’ loss tonight, I think that the Machida rematch would make more sense for him. They are both coming off a loss and Rashad could avenge his only other defeat.
Next Match: Evans vs. Machida this fall
The 22 year old MacDonald made it look easy at UFC 145. In the co-main event spot, MacDonald dominated Che Mills for a round and a half before the referee mercifully stopped it. I think it’s time that MacDonald’s name comes off the prospect list and onto the contender list. He’s now won 3 straight, with his only UFC loss coming to the current Interim Welterweight Champion, Carlos Condit. MacDonald is climbing up the rankings. I think he needs another win before he gets a top 10 opponent. MacDonald said after the fight that he won’t fight GSP since they train together and that he wants to be patient with his career. Most of the Welterweights are all locked up in their own fights between May and July. So, he’ll have to wait around for those fights to pan out.
Next Match: MacDonald faces Rick Story or Charlie Brenneman in early fall
Rothwell probably saved his UFC career with his first round Knockout of the Night victory against Brendan Schaub. It looked like he knocked Schaub into another dimension, as Schaub looked like he was reaching for something after the knockout. Probably a magical fairy of some sort. I have not been to that dimension, so I can’t tell you for sure. Anyway, Rothwell got the impressive win and will have to keep the momentum going in his next fight. And the heavyweight division has shown that there are no easy fights.
Next Match: Rothwell vs. Mike Russow this summer
The young Bantamweight took away any hope Miguel Torres had of challenging for the title with a first round knockout of the former champion. The UFC now finds itself in a conundrum: who will challenge for the title after Cruz-Faber III this July. I doubt anyone wants to see Cruz-Faber IV anytime soon, regardless of the outcome. Has McDonald done enough to earn a title shot? He’s 15-1 and is 5-0 in the WEC/UFC. Demetrious Johnson beat Torres to get a title shot, so why not McDonald? The lack of depth in the division makes him the most logical choice.
Next Match: McDonald faces the winner of Cruz-Faber III for the Bantamweight Championship this fall
The “Filipino Phenom” got back in the win column in a war with the always game Mark Hominick. Yagin’s striking had bad intentions and while not as methodical as Hominick’s, it did damage and gave him the nod on two of the judges’ score cards. Yagin is 1-1 in the UFC and in a Featherweight Division that needs challengers for the unstoppable Jose Aldo. Yagin needs a few more wins before he gets into that picture.
Next Match: Yagin faces Nam Phan later this summer
Bocek didn’t win his fight against John Alessio in the most exciting way, but a win is a win. 3 of the Tristar lightweight’s 4 losses in the UFC are to former champion Frankie Edgar, current champion Benson Henderson and top contender Jim Miller. On the other hand, his wins aren’t exactly against the cream of the crop of the division either. Bocek is obviously in a very crowded lightweight division and isn’t in the upper echelon. I think he should be matched up with someone in the same situation as him with the winner getting a shot at the “big boys.”
Next Match: Bocek faces Thiago Tavares later this summer
There you have it! Please comment below with your choices for “Who’s Next” for the UFC 145 fighters. It’s always an interesting debate.
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